Teach your children

Trash Talk

July 8, 2014 

Just who are those people you see occasionally with vests and grabbers walking along the roadside picking up other people's trash? This article features an interview with one of these dedicated members of Keep Our Mountains Beautiful, Judith Johnson, who, with her husband Richard, lives in Bass Lake.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am a nurse. I've lived in Eastern Madera County since 1980.

With so many volunteer opportunities in Eastern Madera County, what attracted you to picking up roadside litter and/or activities supporting Keep Our Mountains Beautiful?

For years, my husband and I have pulled up yellow star thistle along roadsides in Eastern Madera County. Trash that is visible from a moving car is ten times more horrible when seen from the shoulder or guardrail. We just naturally moved into trash pickup as well. Immediate gratification is possible when picking up trash — when I look back or drive down a roadside that is natural and uncluttered, that's a real joy for me. It's also wonderful exercise; why pay for a gym membership?

Have you ever found anything really interesting or valuable while picking up litter?

I have actually found paper money (and happily kept it as a small token of appreciation.).

What other positive experiences have you had?

It's fun when people stop and chat or stop to ask what you're doing and they're often truly appreciative of the effort to help keep their neighborhoods looking nicer. It undoubtedly helps keep up property values and enhances street appeal.

Do you have an interesting story related to your cleanup efforts?

A not-so-positive experience is that I've had young men throw beer cans at me from their truck windows on more than one occasion. However, Richard and I recycle these cans (and retrieved bottles) and use the money to eat breakfast at the Forks.

What is your pet peeve (related to the topic)?

My pet peeve is that those who litter believe that their lazy, momentary convenience trumps the common good. I am amazed at their mindset that someone else will clean up after them. Also, I think that people who are too cheap or too lazy to go to the dump should be prosecuted for off-loading on dead end roads.

What message would you like to give the public?

My plea to the public is please teach your children better regard for their community and for our planet. People from all over the world come here to vacation. We should appreciate the beauty and value of our mountains at least as much as they do. Thanks to all the good people who help Keep Our Mountains Beautiful.

Article submitted by Keep Our Mountains Beautiful. For more information about KOMB or to become a supporting member, contact Sandee Scott at (559) 760-1058.

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